Porter County Sheriff's Department


2011

What's Happening at The Porter County Sheriff's Department

 
Drug Trafficking

Chuck Porucznik, executive director of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area discusses the new role Porter County law enforcement officers will have as the group expands.

 

Porter County looking to curb drug trafficking

Jeff Burton October 28, 2011 8:15 pm

 

VALPARAISO | There are more than 2,500 known gang members in Lake County and Portage Police Chief Mark Becker said residents can no longer pretend they're not crossing the county line.

"We all know through experience their primary (income) is from street-level drug transactions," Becker said. "We'd be naive to think they don't come into our county to deal drugs."

Police chiefs and other law enforcement officers from throughout Porter County gathered Friday to explain their new drug enforcement effort as part of the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area.

Porter County was admitted to the HIDTA in June after studies showed drugs from Mexico and the western U.S. were being trafficked through the county on expressways and distributed in cities and towns en route to major cities like Chicago and Detroit.

Local HIDTA Executive Director Chuck Porucznik said federal funds awarded to Porter County will allow officers from the Porter County Sheriff's Department, and other local department, to devote part of their time to running interdiction on area expressways.

He said there's a constant flow of drugs coming from the Mexican border and copious amounts of cash flowing back.

Porter County Prosecutor Brian Gensel said one of the areas where HIDTA expertise will benefit the county is in its intelligence. He said the agency often knows the prime times specific drugs are being harvested and transported, allowing interdiction efforts to be spot-on.

Becker, a former FBI agent, said having access to HIDTA resources is benefiting residents. He said combined with what he sees as an aggressive, proactive approach to keeping drugs off the streets, it gives officers a better chance of preventing problems before they occur.

"I was just out on a drug arrest a few days ago and (the person arrested) referred to Portage and Porter County as being too strict," Becker said. "I think it's making a difference."

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